HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — E.J. Anosike had 22 points and eight rebounds, Damari Milstead hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points and CSU Fullerton rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Long Beach State 72-71 on Saturday night to the Big West Conference tournament.
The Titans, who have won four games in a row, clinched a berth into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018.
Tray Maddox Jr. had 13 points and six assists for Fullerton (21-10) and Jalen Harris scored 10.
Tobias Rotegaard and Jadon Jones sandwiched 3-pointers around a jumper by Joel Murray to give Long Beach State a 54-50 lead midway through the second half but Anosike scored nine points and Harris the other five as CSU Fullerton answered with a 14-2 run to take an eight-point lead about 5 minutes later and the Titans led the rest of the way.
Jones hit a 3-pointer to pull the Beach within a point with 38 seconds left and, after the teams traded turnovers, Milstead was fouled and missed the front end of the 1-and-1 with 19 seconds left but Latrell Wrightsell Jr. poked away the ball at the other end and Long Beach State failed to get off a potential winning shot in the closing seconds.
Murray led Long Beach State (20-12) with 24 points and Colin Slater, the conference's player of the year, scored 23, hitting 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Jordan Roberts added 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Slater scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, as Long Beach State jumped to a 29-15 lead with 4:37 left in the first half but Maddox scored eight points and Anosike added six in a 17-2 run that gave the Titans a one-point lead at the break. Maddox converted a three-point play with 55 seconds left and Wrightsell stole a pass and found Maddox for a 3-pointer to make it 32-31 just 20 seconds later.
Wrightsell and Fullerton's Jadon Jones were called for a double technical in the closing seconds of the first half.
Long Beach State (20-11)
CSU Fullerton (20-10)
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25Wednesday night.